Cohesion3D and Design Software

I am new to forums in general so please bear with me.

Having recently retired, I have purchased a CO2 laser with a K40 board and wish to upgrade in order to obtain additional features. Any articles I have read regarding the Cohesion3D board, use Lightburn software. As a designer for many years, I have always used CorelDRAW and currently use X7, a FULL legitimate copy - not hacked. At my age, I really do not wish to learn a new design software package, will the Cohesion3D board work with CorelDRAW X7 (i.e. export drawings to the laser directly), or should I be looking at a different proprietary board, plugin or macro? I like the idea of just being able to swap boards and get on with laser cutting.

Many thanks.

You needn’t lose Corel - you just save to an AI or SVG file, load that into LightBurn, apply the appropriate settings, and send to the laser. LightBurn isn’t intended to replace full scale design software, but it’s capable enough for simple work. What it does that Corel doesn’t is give you a place to specify cutting options like power, speed, cut order, and so on, per item in your design.

It also does color mapping to settings banks, so you can quickly move things across while editing and keep the appropriate settings applied when you make changes in your preferred design software.

Thank you Oz. So, whilst Lightburn is a ‘Design’ software, it is basically acting as the interface for my .plt file. I say .plt, as that is what I have been using to cut with CorelLaser. Are any of the other file types better suited with the 3D board?

On another note, the cutter I have is a Ten-High 400mm x 300mm, 60W machine with X,Y, Z and a rotary attachment. There is a digital panel recessed into the machine, approx 80mm x 80mm, but with room to accommodate a 110mm x 110mm screen, would the Graphic LCD Control Panel with Adapter fit into this area as I don’t see any size mentioned? Here is a link to the machine:

I am assuming it would be beneficial to have this display unit if it can be fitted? Once you see the design of the laser any other comments regarding potential fitting of components would be appreciated, if possible.

Many thanks

LightBurn is first and foremost a layout and send to laser software, with a growing set of editing and design tools. It is not intended to replace a full on design program.

You can export your designs from Corel, there is even a Macro available to easily bring Corel designs into LightBurn. Download the free trial and give it a shot.

That’s not a coincidence, maybe? :slight_smile: LightBurn is arguably the best laser software on the market right now, but you can discover that for yourself.

C3D is not proprietary, it runs gCode and can work with other software. However, you do need to set up your jobs, telling it what is a cut, what is an engrave, at what power and speeds, where on the bed, etc… and this is where LightBurn will make your life very easy. Also all those other things it does that Oz said :slight_smile:

As far as your other concerns, please show detailed pictures of your machine, the electronics inside it, and the rotary so that I can have a look.

PLT is a very minimal file format, allowing only for pen indices (not RGB colors) and straight line segments, so it’s a relatively inefficient format. That said, it’s similar to what LightBurn sends the controller, but there might be differences in how Corel decides to convert curves to those linear segments.

AI files are complex, but the older versions (really old, like AI 3.0) are very simple internally. Even modern AI format is quite well supported at this point, and allows for spline curves, color definitions as RGB or CYMK, and embedded images (PLT files do not allow images).

So, PLT will work fine, and if you’re used to it, and it suits the work you do, you shouldn’t need to change. AI might gain you slight advantages, but they’re not specific to the C3D board, just laser and design software in general.

Hello Ray,
Here are the pictures as requested, I hope they are detailed enough to provide you with the information you require.
Current%20Control%20Panel Front%20Switch%20Panel

I’ll also download a trial copy of Lightburn to have a look at the interface.

Thanks for your help

Hello Ray,
Here are some more photos:


Just trying to give you as much information as possible, just another couple of photos to finish off.

Hello Ray,
… and finally:


I’m putting in a picture of the stepping motor in case you find it may not be sufficient - speed wise - for cutting curves etc.

Thanks again.

Dear Ray, I was wondering if you have had an opportunity to view the photos I’ve taken of my laser cutter with a view to determining if the Cohesion3D board will work with my rotary device.

Many thanks

Very sorry I overlooked this.

Yes, that is what appears to be an M2Nano board in there with all the wiring we would expect.

Can you show what kind of switches/ sensors are used for homing the head?

I understand the intention of how the rotary is wired in your machine, because that and most other laser controllers make you switch between the Y motor and the rotary, but our board has a dedicated rotary driver, so we can figure out the best way to wire that up at a later point so that your life becomes more convenient.

Whenever there is a digital panel for setting the current we advise that it is absolutely critical to install an mA meter (they are in stock, just need to list them on the site). What is the wattage of your machine?

Dear Ray, here are a couple of photos, one of the switch - which would limit the distance of travel - and the other of the information on the tube - such as it is!

The laser is sold as an upgraded 60W, but the tube is only 1000mm in length so probably rated at 50W with a MAX Power of 60W.



I hope this is the information you require.

Many thanks

Switches look fine.

You should get a Current Meter for your machine which I have now listed on the site:

And if you want to replace the digital panel with a potentiometer, we have it and a nice knob:

Whether you do that is up to you, there are mixed opinions, but you should definitely put a current meter in your machine.

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Good morning Ray and thank you for your reply,

From your responses - if I have interpreted them correctly - to upgrade my machine, the minimum I will need is:

  1. A Cohesion3D Laserboard - which comes with a power supply.
  2. A 30mA Current Meter.
  3. Lightburn Software to interface with the Laserboard and my X7 CorelDraw.
    (P.S I downloaded Lightburn and the macro, but I couldn’t get the macro to work. Something for a different post, and in the meantime I will look at the FAQs).

Additional peripherals which would make life easier, might include:

Graphic LCD Control Panel with Adapter.
The External Stepper Driver Pack, to help run my rotary attachment - not sure what parts are required - I would need guidance on that.

I am assuming the stepper motors already installed are sufficient - picture previously uploaded.

Any other recommendations appreciated, as this will form my shopping list.

Living in N. Ireland, buying all the bits and pieces in one instance is probably the best option, unless the combined cost going through Customs would be a problem?!!

Thank you for your patience and help.

Yes. We also caution that the USB Cables that come with these machines can be problematic and can cause issues communicating with the Cohesion3D Boards.

The External Stepper Driver cable pack and the drivers themselves (black box) are 2 separate products, as I said before if your stock stuff is meant to be run off the M2Nano then it should run just fine off the C3D board. It may be helpful to get the cable pack since that is a part unique to us, but you can source the external drivers elsewhere at a later point in time if they become necessary. Your call there.

You can read our buyer’s guide to see if anything else is attractive to you. A lot of people like the camera for the functionality it offers in LightBurn. There’s a demo video linked there you can watch.

Finally, since you mention that you are ordering internationally, you can review our shipping information here: Order Processing & Shipping Policy

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